In very few sports can a player have as long a sporting career as in Cricket. In the 130+ years of International cricket, people of all ages have represented their teams in the International arena. From Hasan Raza who made his International debut at 14 to Wilfred Rhodes who played his last Test at the ripe old age of 52, Cricket has seen them all. As of now, the longest career in terms of time belongs to Wilfred Rhodes whose Test Career lasted 32 years. So how would a cricketing career pan out if it lasted the maximum possible duration, with a player making his Debut at the age of 14 and playing his last match at 52?
Methodology- Let us assume that the hypothetical batsman or bowler has made his Test and ODI debut at 14 (same as Hasan Raza) and T20I debut at 17(same as Ahmed Shahzad of Pakistan and Goerge Dockrell of Ireland). Then using historical data about the maximum number of runs scored or wickets taken at a particular age, we sum it all up to create a fantasy career.
Let’s start with the Batsman. Our Batsman makes his Test and ODI debut at age 14 and T20I debut at 17. He plays T20Is till age 41 (same as Oldest T20I player Sunil Dhaniram of Canada), ODIs till age 47 (same as Nolan Clarke of Netherlands) and Tests till age 52. So using our methodology, we get a truly awe-inspiring career.
Click here for complete stats used for Ultimate Batsman
Unsurprisingly, given their record of teenage debutants, Ages 14-20 in all formats is dominated by Pakistani batsmen. Indian Batsmen make more than a few appearances in the composition of this list with Sachin Tendulkar alone holding the records for most runs by a 16 year old and 23 year old in Test’s and most runs by a person aged 18, 21, 24, 34 and 36 in ODI’s. The most surprising entry is Australian spinner Bertie Ironmonger who holds the record for most runs by a 49 year old despite the fact that he was considered one of the worst batsmen of all-time.
Now it’s the turn of the Bowler. Our fantasy Bowler makes his Test debut at 15 (same as Mushtaq Mohammed), ODI debut at 16 (just like Shahis Afridi) and T20I debut at 17 (as did George Dockrell). He continues playing T20I’s till age 41(as did Sunil Dhaniram), ODI’s till age 45 (like John Traicos) and Test matches till age 52 (like Wilfried Rhodes) and this becomes his final stats-
Click here for complete stats used for Ultimate Bowler
Pakistani bowlers again occupy top slots in most wickets by teenagers column, not very surprising. The most wickets in Test’s and ODI’s by a 21 year old are taken by two unfulfilled Indian talents, Maninder Singh and Irfan Pathan respectively. Like Tendulkar, Muralitharan makes multiple appearances having taken the most wickets by a 25,28,29,33 and 34 year old in Tests and most wickets by a 28, 30 and 33 year old in ODIs. The greatest feat however was by Sidney Barnes who took 49 wickets from 4 matches at the age of 40.
67,132 career runs versus 3189 career wickets. 169 centuries versus 165 fifers. A look at these numbers and suddenly Sachin’s and Murali’s achievements pale in comparison. In this battle between the batting Giant and the bowling Titan who would have won, it is hard to say. But one thing is for sure that it would take a Superman to get even close to their records.